X-POSITION: Fan Appreciation Awards

A little over four years ago, X-POSITION was born. It all started with news that the X-books were going to be heading in a new and distinctively focused direction beginning with something called "Endangered Species." Marvel felt that readers might have questions, and CBR volunteered to be a facilitator for these inquiries. At the time, we didn't know how long X-POSITION was going to run, but we figured that we'd continue it until fan participation died down.

Thankfully for us all, that didn't happen.

Nearly two hundred columns (and thousands of reader emails) later, X-POSITION has become the destination for X-fans to interact with the creative forces behind the various X-Men books. During that time, we've seen the X-Men move from New York to San Francisco to Utopia; we've watched as mutants who were de-powered and lost have gotten re-powered and found; and we've bore witness as the X-Men have changed from a school, to an army (of sorts), to an independent nation. And this doesn't even cover a smidgen of the events taking place in the other X-books!

At present, everyone in the comic industry is busy preparing for San Diego Comic-Con International which begins this week. And, typically, our little X-column takes a two week break at this time of the year. Jonah Weiland (CBR's head honcho), however, suggested we use this "lull" to thank all the X-fans who have made this column such a success. Naturally, I agreed whole-heartedly.

Since we're not Oprah, Jonah shot down my suggestion of giving everyone a brand new car. After some more back and forth, we decided to thank some of X-POSITION's top "question contributors" with sketches by a few of their favorite artists. I sent out several requests, and three artists eagerly stepped forward. They helped to make this whole event possible by offering to reduce their normal rates and/or donate their works to show their love to you, the fans. This only left the tricky part -- selecting the sketch recipients.

I went through the emails for the past six months and gathered the names of those who I saw numerous messages from. I made sure they were always polite and interesting in their questions (they were), I confirmed that if they were members in good standing if they were participants in the CBR forums (no problem there) and then I tossed their names in a hat. I was going to sacrifice a goat, but Jonah said that was overkill.

Before I announce the names and tell you about the sketches though, I want to give all of our readers a quick "thanks!" Your interest and passion is what fuels this column, and it's always an adventure reading the questions that you come up with. In particular, I'd like to give a special X-salute to DarkXMen, Big G, Ben Tennyson, MarvelMaster16, Phoenix Egg, BigBarda, Rory, The Seventh Light, and Taimur Dar -- rest assured, all your names went for a swim in the drawing hat! And now, onto the awards and the artists that drew them.

Our first two sketches both come from Colleen Coover, whose back-up stories in "X-Men: First Class" (written by Jeff Parker) were a huge hit with our readers. With the movie having come out just this summer, it felt appropriate to have her revisit this team in her own unique way.

First up, we have a drawing of the marvelous Marvel Girl. Drawn with an ink wash, she's looking pleased because Cyclops finally asked her to the school sock-hop. And the lucky recipient of this sketch is -- Derek Brunell!

For her second piece, Colleen gave us the flip side of Jean and resurrected the Phoenix. She looks so darn serene, though, I can't imagine her ever hurting a fly (let alone a solar system). We'll be shipping this piece off to reader Madroxdupe024, who can ponder the meaning of life as he stares at Jean in wonder.

If these two images have tantalized your artistic taste buds for more of Coover's works, be sure to go out and pick up a copy of her recently-released "Gingerbread Girl." The art and story are as tasty as the title!

Our next artistic contributor is someone whose pending project is drawing lots of attention around the industry. Of course, if you're creating a brand new webhead with Brian Bendis in the upcoming "Ultimate Comics Spider-Man," that's to be expected. I'm naturally talking about artist Sara Pichelli. Her "Pixie Strikes Back" (written by Kathryn Immonen) was named by you folks in our "Top X-Moments of 2010" column, so we should feel extra-lucky that she could take part in this!

Sara has given us a fang-tastic drawing of Vampire Jubilee. For a character that used to give off sparks and run around in a yellow overcoat, Pichelli has captured the darkness of her new personality to perfection. And we'll be sending this sketch to Taurean -- don't be afraid of the dark!

For our last two pieces of art, we managed to grab someone whose recent X-work was a "hot topic" in many of our X-POSITION's over the past few months. Not only did he need to draw X-Men in one of their wildest battles to date, he had to give them brand new designs as the universe around them had changed in the pages of "Age of X" (written by Mike Carey). But Clay Mann stood up to this challenge and, according to your emails, took a place in your hearts as one of your favorite X-artists.

Since the storyline Clay worked on dealt with the dual nature of two universes, he used that as a theme in both of the sketches he drew. His first piece was a character who played a central part in "Age of X," where she was known as "Legacy." To us, however, she'll always be that lovable Rogue from down south. And this awesome sketch will be finding its way over to reader -- Renaldo Matadeen!

It wouldn't be right for Rogue to be alone, so Clay also drew up her boyfriend. Now, some of you might be expecting to see a picture of Gambit, but that wasn't the case in "Age of X." So here, for your viewing pleasure, is the Magneto of Rogue's dreams. This final piece will be shipped off to a regular contributor that's always on top of his game -- Marcus Martin. Enjoy!

And that wraps up our first-ever X-POSITION Fan Appreciation Awards! Congratulations to all our recipients, and thank you once again to all our readers for helping to make this column one of the greatest X-periences around for X-fans. This presentation was a lot of fun, and although I can't if or when we'll do this again, I'll cross my fingers that the opportunity arises once more in our future!

Be sure to visit CBR News in the coming days, as there will be lots of announcements from Marvel (both X-Men-related and other) coming out of San Diego Comic-Con International. Then, in fourteen days, the X-Editors (led by Nick Lowe) will stop by to answer emails on news you've heard or questions that have been lingering in your mind.

So, anytime in the next week-and-a-half, sit down, pour yourself a nice iced tea, and type up those quality queries that make me giddy with joy. When you're done with that, shoot your missives my way with an "X-Position" in the subject line -- it will help to save the environment and a baby seal or two! And if you're going to San Diego, remember to pack protection (bags and boards are essential). Have fun, folks!

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